FT chief exec: papers must charge for online content to safeguard quality journalism

The chief executive for the Financial Times, John Ridding, is the lastest of senior newspaper figures to advocate for paid-for access to online content, calling it the only way to safeguard quality journalism.

Ridding told the Guardian: “I fundamentally believe readers are willing to pay for quality journalism.”

Newspapers need to look at what sets them apart from other papers and how they can charge for it, and abandon a “free is good” doctrine, he said.

He said: “It is definitely more difficult for more general publishers [to charge] but often I feel there’s a more fatalistic response, saying ‘It’s not possible’.”

Ridding said the FT was considering a mixture of micro-payments and some free content as an adition to the its subscription model.

Earlier this week the FT annouced the launch an online version of “How to spend it” allowing readers access the last four issues of the magazine and columns for free.

Association of Online Publishers – which includes Telegraph Media Group, Guardian Media Group, Condé Nast Digital, News International, and IPC Media- released the result of a survey of its members this week showing that 70% of digital publishers, including those in newspaper, magazine, and television industries, intend to charge for online content.

One in three respondents to the AOP survey intending to charge for content said they would adopt a micro-payment model in the next 12 months with 45 per cent preferring a subscription model.

And the new reveune streams? More than a quarter of those intending to charge for online content said they would look at downloadable apps to provide revenue. 

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